What Is Peri Peri Chicken?
Peri peri chicken is a dish made by marinating chicken in a sauce made from African Bird’s Eye Chilli, a chili pepper measuring 50,000 - 100,000 Scoville units in hotness and called ‘Peri-Peri’ (literally pepper-pepper in Swahili) because of it.
The dish’s origins can be traced back to the 15th century when Portuguese settlers in Africa came across African bird's eye chili and made the first 'Peri-Peri sauce'. Since then, the dish has been popular worldwide, and while traditionally made by barbecuing whole young spatchcocked chicken, it is now also made by frying marinated chicken breasts or thighs.
How to Make Perfect Peri Peri Chicken?
To make the perfect Portuguese peri peri chicken, start by making the peri peri marinade. Add red bell pepper, chilis, garlic cloves, white vinegar, olive oil, oregano, paprika, rosemary, salt, sugar, parsley, and lemon juice to a food processor and pulse until puréed. Simmer this purée for 20 minutes on a saucepan after adding bay leaves, and once cool, blend again until smooth.
Marinate the cut chicken in this smooth sauce and fry over medium-high heat in olive oil till both sides are nicely seared. Decrease the heat and allow the chicken to cook for 1 to 2 more minutes until the internal temperature reaches 165 °F . Then, dish out.
What to Serve with Peri Peri Chicken?
Peri peri chicken is popularly served with roasted corn on the cob and spicy rice like Spanish or Portuguese rice. You can also pair your peri peri chicken with sweet potato mash, macho peas, fries, coleslaw, salad, couscous, ratatouille, and garlic bread.
As for beverages, peri peri chicken goes particularly well with light and fruity red wines like Beaujolais, Pinot Noir, and Valpolicella Classico that complement the spiciness of the chicken well. But low tannin red wines from the Douro and Dão region of Portugal and crisp white wines with just a hint of sweetness like Riesling, Gewurztraminer, and Prosecco also work splendidly.
Here are some delicious recipes you can serve with Peri Peri Chicken Sauce: